The four elements–water, fire, earth and air–are reflected everywhere: in landscaping, architecture, design, martial arts and in many different philosophies. In my new blog series, we’re going to have a look at how they are reflected in sales. Let’s begin with the first element–water.
It could be said that everything begins in water. According to science, our own species began in the ocean and eventually crawled up onto shore. This story is, in a way, repeated with every new life: an embryo floats in amniotic fluid–a form of water–before developing, being born and coming forth into the world.
Water begins its flow as a spring. The spring then becomes a stream or brook, and then flows into or becomes a creek. The creek then becomes or flows into a river. And the river flows into a lake, or at last into the ocean.
Relation to Sales
For a company, the spring equates with those first few very precious leads. That spring brings you the first one, two or three leads, and your very first customer. There’s always a first customer–no company starts with 10,000 or some such.
It’s an actual fact that most companies must hang on for dear life to that spring for some time. According to Forbes, approximately 543,000 new businesses get started each month. Over 50 percent of the working population works in a small business, and small businesses have generated over 65 percent of new jobs since 1995. In a more broad view, according to Small Business Trends, the majority (78.8 percent) of U.S. businesses have no employees. You can see how small most of them remain.
It’s not just the majority of companies that are in this beginning-to-middle space–it is also salespeople. According to a recent research report, the far majority of salespeople (71 percent) are moderate performers. 9 percent are underperformers, and 20 percent are top performers.
We clearly see that the average business, and the average salesperson, is dealing with a spring. By association, this is also true of sales leaders.
Becoming a River
So the question becomes: How can your spring become a stream, and the stream a river, and the river a lake or even an ocean? How can we create this momentum?
For the first answer to that question, let’s start right back at that that spring: don’t neglect it! It could be any one of the leads that comes from that spring, that turns that spring into a stream, or even a river.
Entrepreneurs can suffer tremendously in this beginning time while their companies get off the ground, with this tiny trickle coming out of the spring. But when you are in a desert with a small amount of water, that tiny amount will continue to keep you alive, and continuing to grow.
There was once a young, ambitious man in Austria who had an idea for an energy drink. When the company was brand new, he was personally running samples of his drink around to restaurants and bars, and in many cases ended up giving those samples away for free, just to get people to try it. To say the least, this man was clinging dearly to his spring.
And it certainly paid off. The man’s name? Dietrich Mateschitz. The drink? One you may have heard of: Red Bull. Mateschitz now has a worldwide brand, Red Bull Formula 1 cars, and is one of the wealthiest people on the planet.
Burying the Spring
It is all too easy to lose track of that spring. Thanks in part to mainstream media, people tend to become obsessed with the big river, with the sprawling lake or with the endless ocean where there is already a tremendous quantity of water. The problem is that this obsession can lead to neglect of that spring. The spring is a company’s basic energy. Lose it, and you lose your business.
There is another way that salespeople and entrepreneurs can cut themselves off from their spring. This is by becoming distracted through negative thoughts such as “Oh, it never will work!” “Look around, it doesn’t work for anyone!” “Times are so bad!” “Everything is going down!” “I’ve tried so many times and it doesn’t produce any result!” “I’m so tired, I give up!” You can actually end up burying your spring in dirt and mud, and it just doesn’t flow anymore.
Being cut off is a bad thing. Leads lead to opportunities, and opportunities lead to closes that, in enough quantity, means that you survive. And then you succeed.
Standing Back Up
The second answer to the question we posed above– How can your spring become a stream, and the stream a river, and the river a lake or even an ocean?–is one that you have probably heard many times: Never give up.
The energy that you are drawing from that precious spring has yet another purpose: it provides the power to stand back up after you’ve failed or been knocked down. I can personally attest that perseverance is the only way forward. You just have to keep getting back up–again, and again, and again.
If nothing else, remember that you are already a winner. Back there in water, microscopic cellular organisms once competed, and you won. You became a zygote, then an embryo, then a fetus, then emerged as a human. You’re here! You’ve already won!
So the lessons to learn: Connect with your spring. Keep connected to your spring. Never give up. The chances are good that you’ll make it to that river and, who knows? Perhaps that ocean is in your future as well.
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